House and Senate Wrap Up Legislative Business, Head Home to Campaign
In a typical whirlwind end of session flurry, the General Assembly passed numerous bills on a variety of subjects, including further expansions of the sale of beer and liquor, internet gaming, and guns, while they fell a vote or two short of doing more legislation on pensions, animal cruelty and others, some for purely political reasons, and some just because they ran out of time before the election recess. Both chambers will return in November, for ostensibly ceremonial and organizational purposes for next session, but there is an outside chance of a few bills that only require a final chamber vote to get to the Governor may be considered. Below is a rundown of bills of interest to PSPE, as usual, that were acted on this month. At this writing, the Governor has several bills on his desk, but had yet to take action. Gov. Wolf did veto one bill, SB 562 , which made numerous substantive changes to how regulations are considered and approved. The votes in both chambers were largely party line, with the Democrats voting against it in both the House and Senate, so an override is unlikely.
Bills that had been moving on the Capitol Budget and RCAP did not make it to the finish line, either. There has been some talk of a mid-year, supplemental budget being proposed, to shore up what already appears to be a fairly substantial revenue shortfall, leading into the Governor FY 2017-18 budget presentation in February, but none emerged this past month, and it would be difficult to pass one in a brand new legislature next spring. Look for more proposals from the Governor and others for additional revenue next year, though, and further discussion of the “structural deficit” going forward.
Also left at the altar was HB 1704, which made several changes to the Registration Act, particularly with regard to Engineers in Training. Unfortunately, language to address issues raised in the Davey Tree case were not considered as there was too little time left in the session.
PA One Call Extended for One Year
Pennsylvania’s One Call utility damage prevention law, which mandates excavators to call the state’s One Call System at least three business days prior to excavation to ensure no damage to underground lines is done, has been extended for another year. Senate Bill 1235, which amends the Underground Utility Line Protection Law to extend its life for another year, passed the House and Senate this past month, and was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf on November 4. The law now is reset to expire on December 31, 2017, unless it is extended again next year by statute. This effort was supported by small oil and gas operators, contractors, surveyors, among others.
The bill was in limbo for much of session, and made it to the Governor on the last voting day after legislative leaders agreed on a compromise which did not address other significant changes to law that had been asked for in the House, without another year of evaluation. Had the law been allowed to expire, excavators would no longer have been required to call into system which alerts utilities to mark their lines before the drilling takes place. SB 1235 is now Act 160 of 2016
The General Assembly acted on the following bills of interest to PSPE in the past month.
Bidding / Contracting
SB 1313 RE: Guaranteed Energy Savings Contracts (by Sen. Don White, et al)
Amends Title 62 (Procurement), in contract clauses and preference provisions, further providing for definitions and adding that grants, subsidies or other payments from the Commonwealth to a governmental unit shall not be reduced as a result of energy conservation measure cost savings obtained as a result of a guaranteed energy savings contract during the life of the contract. Requires the contract to expressly state the financial obligations that an energy savings company will require users to pay upon a declaration of savings.
Amended on Senate floor, 10/17/2016
Read third time, and passed Senate, 10/18/2016 (50-0)
Received in the House and referred to House State Government Committee, 10/19/2016
Budget Related Bills
HB 928 RE: Limitation on Redevelopment Assistance Capital Projects (by Rep. Steve Mentzer, et al)
In capital facilities, further providing for appropriation for and limitation on redevelopment assistance capital projects and for administration of redevelopment assistance capital projects. Adds that beginning July 1, 2018, and each July 1 thereafter until the sum of the outstanding obligations for redevelopment assistance capital projects equals $2,950,000,000, the sum of the maximum amount of outstanding obligations for redevelopment assistance projects shall be decreased by $50,000,000. Grant agreements shall include a signed affidavit stating that the applicant will hold at least one public informational meeting for the project and an additional public informational meeting as necessary, as required by the bill. Effective immediately.
Removed from the table, 10/17/2016
Amended on Senate floor, 10/24/2016
HB 930 RE: Redevelopment Assistance Capital Projects (RACP) Debt Ceiling (by Rep. Tarah Toohil, et al)
Amends the Capital Facilities Debt Enabling Act reducing the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Projects (RACP) Debt ceiling by $475 million. Adds language providing that the maximum amount of additional public improvement projects released for funding by the Commonwealth in a fiscal year shall not exceed $350 million and the maximum amount of additional redevelopment assistance capital projects released for funding by the Commonwealth in a fiscal year shall not exceed $125 million. Also provides for carry-forward. Effective in 60 days.
Removed from the table in Senate, 10/17/2016
SB 1292 RE: Capital Budget Act of 2016-2017 (by Sen. Patrick Browne, et al)
Provides for the capital budget for the fiscal year 2016-2017 with a total appropriation of $1,110,000,000. Effective October 1, 2016, or immediately, whichever is later.
Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 10/19/2016
Removed from the table, 10/24/2016
Read second time and rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 10/25/2016
Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, 10/26/2016
SB 1341 RE: Performance-based Budgeting Act (by Sen. Bob Mensch, et al)
Provides for performance-based budgeting; establishes the Performance-based Budget Board, an independent board to review the performance-based budget plans of State agencies and make recommendations on how each agency’s programs may be made more transparent, effective and efficient and provides for its powers and duties; and confers powers and imposing duties on the Independent Fiscal Office. Each agency shall receive a performance-based budget review no less often than once every five years. In order to implement this schedule, beginning in 2018, approximately 20 percent of agencies shall be subject to performance-based budget plan review each year. Within 30 days of receipt of the board’s recommendations, the Independent Fiscal Office shall review the recommendations and prepare a report that approves or disapproves the recommendations.
Public hearing held in House Appropriations Committee, 10/25/2016
SB 1362 RE: E-Cig Floor Tax (by Sen. Tom Killion, et al)
Amends the Tax Reform Code, in tobacco products tax, further providing for floor tax by stipulating that the tax shall be paid and reported on a form prescribed by the department within 180 (increased from 90) days of the effective date of the provision.
Rereferred to Senate Appropriations Committee, 10/17/2016
Environmental Building Standards
HB 2387 RE: Erosion and Sediment Control (by Rep. David Zimmerman, et al)
An Act providing for an erosion and sediment control permit, for compliance, for an annual report and for duties of the Department of Environmental Protection.
Introduced and referred to House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, 10/3/2016
SR 385 RE: State Environmental Regs Study (by Sen. Michele Brooks, et al)
A Resolution directing the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study to analyze and identify which environmental laws and regulations of this Commonwealth have more stringent standards than Federal law requires.
Adopted 10/18/2016 (27- 21)
Transmitted as directed, 10/24/2016
SR 421 RE: Federal Floodplain Management Regulations By Sen. David Argall, et al)
A Resolution urging the President and the Congress of the United States to review the changes to the Federal floodplain management regulations that negatively impact our blighted communities.
Reported as amended from Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, 10/19/2016
Adopted, 10/26/2016 (48-0)
Transmitted as directed, 10/31/2016
HB 568 RE: (RAC) Review (by Rep. Eli Evankovich, et al)
Amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act revising the procedures for review of the International Construction Code by the Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council (RAC). Clarifies the RAC process shall be put in place for review of updated sections of the International Construction Code every three years. Adds two members to the RAC, increases the members’ terms from two to three years, and provides for the reimbursement of RAC members for expenses. Further provides for the creation of technical advisory committees which shall be composed of council members and nonvoting technical advisory members and shall be limited to 12 members. Creates an accelerated process for re-review of 2015 terms. Also provides for delay in future code adoption processes following any new additions to the International Construction Code and for an expedited process for unopposed sections. In addition, changes are made to building permit fees. The amendment of section 902 (c) relating to uncertified buildings over which the department does not have jurisdiction is effective in 60 days and the remainder is effective immediately.
Re-reported on concurrence as amended from Senate Rules and Executive Noms Committee, 10/25/2016
Senate concurred in House amendments to Senate amendments, with further amendments, 10/26/2016
Received as amended in House and rereferred House Rules Committee, 10/26/2016
HB 2388 RE: Prototypical School Facility Design Clearinghouse (by Rep. Tedd Nesbit, et al)
Amends Public School Code, in grounds and buildings, providing for a prototypical school facility design clearinghouse.
Introduced and referred to House Education Committee, 10/4/2016
SB 562 RE: IRRC Process Changes (by Sen. John Gordner, et al)
Amends the Regulatory Review Act requiring that within five days of receipt of proposed regulations, the chair of the pertinent oversight committee must provide a paper or electronic copies to each member of the committee for their review. Empowers committee chairs to hold hearings on the proposed regulations or to hold meetings for the purpose of adopting official comments by a majority vote of the members of the committee. Also requires chairs to distribute a copy of final form regulations to each member of the committee within five days. Stipulates time periods for review or action by the committees will be either for a period of 14 calendar days or six legislative days, whichever is longer; committees may have the Independent Regulatory Review Commission remove from its agenda final form regulations which the committee either disapproves or requests additional time for review; and removes the requirement that agency statements of purpose be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Lays out guidelines for action following the commission’s review process. Effective in 60 days.
Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed House, 10/26/2016 (109-81)
Received as amended in Senate and rereferred to Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, Re-reported on concurrence as committed Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, and Senate concurred in House amendments, 10/26/2016 (31-16)
Signed in the Senate and House, 10/27/2016
In the hands of the Governor, 10/27/2016. Last day for Governor’s action, 11/6/2016
Vetoed by the Governor, 10/28/2016. Veto # 6.
SB 840 RE: Automated Speed Enforcement Systems (by Sen. Dave Argall, et al)
Amends Title 75 (Vehicles), in preliminary provisions, further providing for definitions; and, in rules of the road in general, further providing for speed timing devices and providing for automated speed enforcement systems. The bill provides for automated speed enforcement in active work areas, which shall expire in five years.
Amended on Senate floor, read third time, and passed Senate, 10/18/2016 (48-0)
Received in the House and referred to House Transportation Committee, 10192016
SB 1235 RE: One Call System (by Sen. Lisa Baker, et al)
Amends the Underground Utility Line Law further providing for definitions, for duties of facility owners, for duties of the One Call System, for duties of excavators, for duties of designers, for duties of project owners and for penalties; providing for enforcement, for underground utility line protection fund and for compliance; and further providing for One Call System authority and for expiration. Expiration of the act is extended through 2021. Portions of the bill are effective immediately and the remainder is effective in 180 days.
Received in the House and referred to House Consumer Affairs Committee, 10/3/2016
Reported as amended from House Consumer Affairs Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 10/18/2016
Removed from the table, 10/19/2016
Read second time and rereferred to House Appropriations committee, 10/25/2016
Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, 10/25/2016
Read third time and passed House, 10/26/2016 (195-0)
Received as amended in Senate and rereferred Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, Re-reported on concurrence as committed from Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, and Senate concurred in House amendments, 10/26/2016 (47-0)
Signed in the House and Senate, and In the hands of the Governor, 10/27/2016.
Approved by the Governor 11/4/2016 (Act No. 160 of 2016)
HB 1704 RE: Registration Board Amendments (by Rep. Mark Mustio, et al)
Amends the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law further providing for definitions, for continuing professional competency requirements and for exemption from licensure and registration.
Reported as committed from Senate Consumer Protection & Prof. Licensure Committee, and read first time, 10/18/2016
Rereferred to Senate Appropriations Committee, 10/25/2016
Reported as committed from Senate Appropriations Committee, 10/26/2016
HB 1398 RE: Partnerships and LLC’s (by Rep. Adam Harris, et al)
Amends Titles 15 (Corporations and Unincorporated Associations) and 54 (Names) modernizing the law on limited liability partnerships, general partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability companies; and making conforming changes with respect to associations, corporations, unincorporated nonprofit associations and business trusts by doing the following: As to general provisions, making conforming changes by revising provisions on application of title, definitions, defense of usury, tax clearance of certain fundamental transactions and fee schedule. As to entities generally, making conforming changes by revising requirements for foreign association names. As to entity transactions, making conforming changes by revising provisions on regulatory conditions and required notices and approvals, nature of transactions, approval by limited partnership, effect of merger, statement of division and effectiveness, effect of division and effect of domestication. As to foreign associations, making conforming changes by revising provisions on governing law. As to corporations, making conforming changes by revising provisions on distributions by business corporations and by adding provisions on derivative actions and the use of special litigation committees by business corporations and nonprofit corporations. As to partnerships generally: extensively revising provisions on: interchangeability of partnership, limited liability company and corporate forms of organization; and ownership of certain professional partnerships; and adding a provision on failure to observe formalities. As to limited liability partnerships: extensively revising provisions on: scope; definitions; limitation on liability of partners; extraterritorial application of subchapter; foreign registered limited liability partnerships; and annual registration; and adding provisions on: distributions; and dissolution. As to general partnerships, repealing existing Chapter 83 and replacing it with a new Chapter 84 relating to: general provisions; nature of partnership; relations of partners to persons dealing with partnership; relations of partners to each other and to partnership; transferable interests and rights of transferees and creditors; dissociation; dissociation as partner if business not wound up; and dissolution and winding up. As to limited partnerships, repealing existing Chapter 85 and replacing it with a new Chapter 86 relating to: general provisions; formation and filings; limited partners; general partners; contributions and distributions; dissociation; transferable interests and rights of transferees and creditors; dissolution and winding up; and actions by partners. As to limited liability companies: repealing existing Subchapters A, B, C, D, E, F, I and K of Chapter 89 and replacing them with a new Chapter 88 relating to: general provisions; formation and filings; relations of members and managers to persons dealing with limited liability company; relations of members to each other and to limited liability company; transferable interests and rights of transferees and creditors; dissociation; dissolution and winding up; actions by members; and benefit companies; and revising provisions on restricted professional companies. As to unincorporated nonprofit associations, making conforming amendments by revising provisions on ownership and transfer of property. As to business trusts, making conforming changes by revising provisions on application and effect of chapter and liability of trustees and beneficiaries. As to names, revising provisions on register established. Effective in 90 days.
Rereferred to Senate Appropriations Committee, 10/17/2016
Reported as amended from Senate Appropriations Committee, 10/18/2016
Laid on the table, 10/24/2016
Removed from the table, and read second time, 10/25/2016
Read third time, and passed Senate, 10/26/2016 (48-0)
Received as amended in House and rereferred to House Rules Committee, re-reported on concurrence as committed from House Rules Committee, and House concurred in Senate amendments, 10/27/2016 (185-0)
Signed in the House, 10/27/2016
Copies of all bills of interest can be accessed here.